Games people play

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The Independent Online
Lenny Beige, 48, show-business legend

As a multi-faceted Lothario, I don't have much leisure time, but I like to relax by playing a little mah-jong with my mother at her Bide-a-Wee- Wyle Home and Funeral Co-operative in Temple Fortune. That and Yhatxee, a dice game which I use to humour her more than anything else; these days she has no idea of what's going on.

My favourite game is backgammon. I play with Omar Sharif - when we haven't time for a rubber of bridge - when I'm on tour in the Middle East or he's over here. It's quick, it's easy and it's very stylish, particularly if you have a monogrammed doe-skin case.

When we go over to Bruce Forsyth's house on Boxing Day, we play pooh- sticks with cigar butts in his swimming pool. My Monte Cristo No 2 beats his slim panatella every time, and Ernie Wise still insists on using a cocktail Sobranie, which sinks without trace.

I've always got time for a game on my satin Twister duvet cover, and if I'm supine with a young lady, I'll suggest that we get the Mazola out. Obviously I don't use anything cheap like Crisp 'n' Dry.

There's very little that I haven't done, but if anything were possible, I wouldn't mind playing ping-pong with Sammy Davis Jr. He's been an inspiration to me. He's dead, unfortunately, so it won't happen. I like ping-pong because you don't have to move. Jews don't like to run about too much; they're not manual workers.

I used to play a game with my brothers. It was called "I'm the star, you're the agent and he's the publicist." I was only five at the time. Funnily enough my twin brother is still my agent. My older brother is sadly no longer with us. He used to be my agent.

You are too late to see Lenny Beige's acclaimed performance at last year's Edinburgh Festival, but may still catch him at the Regency Rooms at the Talk of London in Drury Lane. Information from the Box Office: 0171-483 2157.